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The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World’s Rarest SpeciesArtist/Author: Penguin Books
From the world’s tiniest waterlily to the ‘Coral Tree’, Carlos Magdalena has an uncanny ability to bring rare, breathtakingly beautiful plants back from the brink of extinction. As botanical horticulturist at London’s famous Kew Gardens – the most biodiverse place on the planet – he has over 7,000 species under his care in his ‘Noah’s Ark’ plant nursery. He is highly regarded around the world for his pioneering work with waterlilies, battling to save rare specimens against man-made ecological destruction and even thieves hunting for wealthy collectors. Carlos travels to remote and dangerous locations – from the jungles of Mauritius to the most remote areas of the Australian outback – and develops groundbreaking, leftfield techniques to encourage weird and wonderful plants to propagate and prosper. In The Plant Messiah, Carlos shares his thrilling adventures, telling the stories of these incredible plants and his lifetime spent racing to save them.
The Last Great Plant Hunt: The Story of Kew’s Millennium Seed BankArtist/Author: Seddon, Sue, Carolyn Fry, Gail Vines.
With climate change posing an escalating threat to biodiversity, the need for humans to conserve seeds from all plant species is increasingly critical. In the fight against extinction, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is a unique global asset. The largest wild plant seed bank in the world, it contains the world’s most diverse seed collection, comprising more than three-and-a-half billion seeds from nearly twenty-five thousand distinct species. This book describes the vital work of the Millennium Seed Bank project and its partner organizations which are now found in more than fifty countries worldwide. From the collection and care of seeds to their use in conservation research, all practical aspects of seed storage are discussed. Additional chapters consider the future of global seed conservation. Timely and informed, this book recounts the history and details the mission of this impressive and ever more necessary international conservation effort.
Wilson’s China: a century on.Artist/Author: Flanagan, Mark and Tony Kirkham.
Ernest Wilson was the foremost plant collector of his generation, responsible for introducing over 1,000 species to our gardens in the West. The authors of this book reveal Wilson’s adventures through excerpts from his own writings as well as describing their own experiences tracing his journeys in the wilds of China today.
Wilson’s legacy includes glass plate photographs taken in Sichuan at the beginning of the 20th century, depicting landscapes, villages, river scenes, people and plants, veteran and exceptional trees. Armed with copies of these images, and with the help of Chinese guides and local knowledge, the authors retraced Wilson’s footsteps, taking photographs themselves. The result is a splendid series of ‘then and now’ images which are a key feature of this informative homage to a great plant hunter.
Seeds of Adventure: In Search of PlantsArtist/Author: Cox, Peter and Peter Hutchison.
This book is the story of the extensive travels made by two Peters in search of plants in Turkey, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Tibet. On nearly every expedition, they explored territory where no western plant hunters had been since such great explorers as Frank Kingdon Ward, and some of the trails they followed were so remote and rough that they had never before been botanised.
Every trip was an adventure, and every adventure bore the seeds of success. Where the Himalayan range meets the gorge country of south-west China lies the richest temperate flora in the world. Here the plant life can mate, mutate and migrate in an evolutionary stew that challenges the botanist to classify it. With their Chinese and Indian colleagues, the Peters introduced many plants, especially rhododendrons, new or lost to cultivation, often saving them from extinction, many of which can be grown outside in the temperate regions of Europe and the United States of America.
Colonial botany: science, commerce, and politics in the early modern world.Artist/Author: Schiebinger, Londa and Claudia Swan.
This book reveals how the study, naming, cultivation, and marketing of rare and beautiful plants resulted from and shaped European voyages, conquests, global trade, and scientific exploration.